A popular community fitness scheme has arrived in Chichester.
Parkrun is a weekly, free and timed 5k run for any community that wants one. There are now more than 270 in the UK and close to 440 in the world.
Chichester District Council, Chichester Community Development Trust and NATS (the air traffic control provider) are providing the funding to make the Chichester parkrun possible.
The first one involved 225 runners of all ages finishing a three-lap course around Oaklands Park. Some 19 volunteers were on hand to set up, marshal and record the times of the finishers.
Local resident and event director of the Chichester parkrun, Mike Houston, is responsible for co-ordinating the event.
He said “I recently moved to Chichester and I felt the city would benefit from this fantastic community initiative. It has been a pleasure seeing the hard work of the Chichester parkrun core team come to fruition.
“Chichester parkrun could not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and the continued support of the district council. The weekly running of this event relies solely on volunteers. Encouraging runners to volunteer is key to the future success of this event.”
James Ellis was the first finisher in the inaugural event in an impressive time of 16.49. Ellis is opening the new i-Run store in Chichester and said “We are extremely pleased to have such a well-organised event on our doorstep that encourages participation across all levels of running.”
First female was Paulina Erceg in a time of 22.07. The average time taken to complete the course was 28.22.
Unlike other running events, parkrun is not a race. All abilities are welcomed and children as young as four can run, though children under 11
must run with an adult.
Runners can run with a dog as long as they have them on a lead and some runners even push their children in buggies.
Chichester parkrun will continue to take place in Oaklands Park every Saturday morning at 9am. To register to run visit www.parkrun.ork.uk